CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
CHICAGO – Evoking the civil rights melodramas of the ’60s, such as Guy Green’s wrenching “A Patch of Blue,” with a dash of Robert Benton’s 1979 masterpiece, “Kramer vs. Kramer,” Travis Fine’s “Any Day Now” shamelessly aims to tug at the heartstrings. And tug at them he does with considerable success, thanks in large part to the riveting, career-best performance delivered by Alan Cumming. It’s the sort of work that could’ve easily been honored with an Oscar nod, had Fox Searchlight or Harvey Weinstein picked it up.
CHICAGO – Travis Fine’s “Any Day Now” is an old-fashioned social problem film painted in the broadest of strokes. Fairly early on, the audience is faced with two choices: either resist the film’s assuredly tear-jerking formula or submit to it. Though some critics will always opt for the first choice, regardless of a film’s merits, I’m willing to praise a formula as long as it’s well-executed.
CHICAGO – NBC has long owned Thursday nights for comedy (although ratings have eroded every year), CBS dominates Monday nights, and Wednesday nights were recently claimed by ABC and the “Modern Family” juggernaut. This leaves Tuesdays for FOX.
CHICAGO – It’s so refreshing to see a talented filmmaker that has been allowed to bring his unique vision to the screen without compromise. You know the feeling when you’re watching a product of a marketing focus group or producer interference and when you’re seeing something fresh, new, and personal.
CHICAGO – FOX announced today that they have renewed their three biggest critical hits, the Tuesday night comedies “New Girl,” “Raising Hope,” and “Glee.” Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company, made the announcement via press release, in advance of the company’s official May Fall schedule announcement. The renewals for smash hit “New Girl” and reliable performer “Glee” came as a surprise to no one. “Raising Hope” was closer to the bubble and so the early renewal makes for good news for its fans.
CHICAGO – Networks have long attempted four consecutive comedies on one night but it’s not a common thing to find on FOX (at least not live-action). So when it was announced that FOX would try to replicate what CBS has on Mondays, ABC has on Wednesdays, and NBC has on Thursdays with their own four-in-a-row on Tuesday nights, TV watchers were curious.
CHICAGO – I fall a bit more in love with “Raising Hope” every week. I went as far as to suggest that the series deserved Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Series, Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (Martha Plimpton), and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Garrett Dillahunt) — one out of three came true as Plimpton actually made a run at the trophy. This show just kept getting better as the first season progressed. Check it out now on DVD and see what the growing buzz is about.
CHICAGO – One of the nice twists of the Fox sitcom “Raising Hope,” is that it doesn’t so much rely on the cute baby named Hope, preferring to focus on the strange people who are in charge of “nurturing” her upbringing. The wackiness continues for a second season starting September 20th on FOX.
CHICAGO – After a few misfires recently, FOX seems to have found a program to be proud of in the promising sitcom “Raising Hope,” which they announced today will be renewed for the 2011-12 season. The Tuesday night program airs at 8pm CST.
CHICAGO – Like the last show from its creator (“My Name is Earl”), the new FOX sitcom “Raising Hope” too-often feels like its underlining and pushing its jokes through the screen in desperation for a laugh but the cast of this new comedy entry is the best of the season and their talent alone should overcome the occasional bit of flop sweat.